Skip to content

Month of February once again problematic for Minnesota

Feb 21, 2013, 7:51 PM EDT

Minnesota v Ohio State Getty Images

The month of February has proven to be a troublesome one for Minnesota over the last three years, as they’ve struggled to the tune of a 4-17 record with one more game (vs. No. 1 Indiana on Tuesday) before the calendar flips to March.

With that dubious record, and more importantly their recent struggles, in mind there are two questions to be asked: what’s wrong with Tubby Smith’s team, and do the Golden Gophers have the tools needed to turn things around?

Offensive execution hasn’t been a strong suit for Minnesota and that was the case when they were playing well earlier this season. Minnesota was able to capitalize on their offensive rebounding prowess, ranking as one of the nation’s best in regards to rebounding their own missed shots.

In Minnesota’s 71-45 loss at No. 18 Ohio State on Wednesday the Gophers grabbed 13 offensive rebounds and scored 14 second chance points. But even with those opportunities Minnesota failed to reach the 60-point mark for the fifth consecutive game (and seventh time in their last nine).

Minnesota shot 29.2% from the field, and while the shooting remains a concern there was a bigger issue against Ohio State: turnovers.

The Gophers turned the ball over 24 times, and with Ohio State entering the game with its own issues on the offensive end the Buckeyes were more than willing to take advantage of the extra scoring chances. Ohio State scored 26 points off of those turnovers, and over the last two games Minnesota has racked up 41 turnovers.

With Rodney Williams still dealing with a shoulder injury and Andre Hollins struggling from the field, Minnesota’s margin for error is much smaller than it was earlier in the season. As the Gophers’ recent track record suggests poor February performances have become commonplace, and fans are growing louder in voicing their displeasure.

They are tired of promising nonconference seasons turning to ash. They are tired of counting quality wins and hoping for an NCAA tournament spot. They are tired of watching teams that seem to regress as the season goes on, or at least that hit seemingly irreversible tailspins. And they seem to be tired of the head coach who has presided over all of these similar seasons.

Given Minnesota’s overall resume the Gophers look to be on solid ground when it comes to making the NCAA tournament, especially when considering some of the other bubble teams up for discussion.

But this current run of play has opened the door for fans to ask serious questions in regards to Smith’s program, and it’s certainly debatable as to whether or not Minnesota has the “right” answers.

Getting to the NCAA tournament is an achievement for many programs, but to go from looking like a Big Ten contender in early January to limping into the field wouldn’t be viewed as an “achievement” for Minnesota.

It would be a disappointment, regardless of how strong the Big Ten is.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: New Orleans lands graduate transfer Kevin Brown

    Jul 23, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

    Terry Rozier, Wayne Blackshear, Kevin Brown AP

    Brown averaged 5.5 points per game and made 13 starts in 35 appearances for the Ragin’ Cajuns.

  2. Merv Lindsay is transferring from New Mexico

    Jul 23, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Lindsay played his freshman season at Kansas

  3. Malik Beasley looking to capitalize on a big spring, summer

    Jul 23, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

    Kelly Kline/Under Armour Kelly Kline/Under Armour

    Beasley has been one of the nations top performers over the last three months

  4. Maker’s Mark releases a special ACC/Tom Jurich bottle (PHOTO)

    Jul 23, 2014, 2:55 PM EDT

    Louisville Athletics Louisville Athletics

    It’s the latest in a long line of bourbon bottles commemorating celebrities in the state.

  5. The Battle of the Pitinos may become an annual occurrence

    Jul 23, 2014, 1:45 PM EDT

    Richard Pitino

    Rick vs. Richard could get awkward for the rest of the family

  6. The latest allegations against Doug Wojcik involve a physical confrontation

    Jul 23, 2014, 12:57 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Will this be enough for Charleston to finally get rid of their embattled head coach?

  7. Top 15 recruit Antonio Blakeney has made the ‘jump’ — literally — to elite status

    Jul 23, 2014, 11:19 AM EDT

    Nike Nike

    Blakeney is now on the radar of programs like Kentucky and Louisville.

  8. Time lapse of Iowa State’s refurbished court (VIDEO)

    Jul 23, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 9.26.42 AM

    Iowa State repainted their court.

  9. Is the College of Charleston close to making a decision on head coach Doug Wojcik?

    Jul 22, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT

    Doug Wojcik AP

    The College of Charleston Board of Trustees meets on Wednesday.

  10. Iowa State forward Jameel McKay denied wavier, eligible to play in December

    Jul 22, 2014, 9:30 PM EDT

    Fred Hoiberg

    The transfer forward will miss the first nine games of the season.

  11. Highlights from the 2014 Nike EYBL Peach Jam (VIDEO)

    Jul 22, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Seven minutes of highlights from this past weekend’s Nike Peach Jam.

  12. Northern Kentucky eligible for the 2015 Atlantic Sun tournament

    Jul 22, 2014, 7:15 PM EDT

    Dave Bezold Dave Bezold

    But they aren’t yet eligible for the NCAA tournament. Click to see why.

  13. Isaiah Austin has a job with the NBA once he finishes degree at Baylor

    Jul 22, 2014, 5:54 PM EDT

    Isaiah Austin Isaiah Austin

    Isaiah Austin is returning to Baylor. Once he gets his degree, he’ll have a job with the NBA.

  14. Montrezl Harrell says he’d be willing to play for Louisville football

    Jul 22, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

    montrezl harrell Getty Images

    Imagine 6-foot-8, 235-pound Harrell in a helmet and shoulder pads.

  15. July Live Period Week Two Superlatives

    Jul 22, 2014, 3:16 PM EDT

    Nike Nike

    The second installment of our weekly awards.

  16. Iowa State’s Georges Niang carries extra motivation – and less weight – into 2014-15

    Jul 22, 2014, 11:44 AM EDT

    Georges Niang AP

    Niang, who has dropped some 25 pounds since the end of the season, is looking to have an even greater impact as the Cyclones work to account for the losses of Melvin Ejim and DeAndre Kane.